People asked to stay away on Remembrance Sunday and pay tribute during virtual events

People are being urged to stay at home on Remembrance Sunday as borough chiefs plan virtual commemorations to replace the traditional parades and services.

By James Harrison
Monday, 19th October 2020, 2:44 pm
Picture from a previous year's Remembrance Sunday Service at Westoe Cenotaph, South Shields.
Picture from a previous year's Remembrance Sunday Service at Westoe Cenotaph, South Shields.

But concerns have been raised that crowds may still turn out to pay their respects if they are not aware of events slated to go ahead.

“This is a celebration of people giving their lives in the First and Second World War and over the years it’s been extremely well supported,” said Hebburn councillor John McCabe.

Picture from a previous year's Remembrance Sunday Service at Westoe Cenotaph, South Shields.

“We need to get the communication out now, but if you listen to what local people are saying, they’re going to turn up in any event.

“Obviously [this would be] with masks on and while trying to socially distance themselves, but we could end up with a mass of people disobeying guidelines.”

McCabe was speaking at a meeting of South Tyneside Council’s Hebburn Community Area Forum (CAF), which was held by videolink and broadcast via YouTube.

According to updated government guidance, councils can still hold and organise Remembrance Day commemorations, so long as it complies existing rules on outdoor events.

Hebburn councillor John McCabe

Ministers have also suggested events should be ‘short and focused on wreath laying’, with numbers kept to a minimum; reduced parades, if they are held at all; and no communal singing, among other pointers for organisers.

Cllr Wilf Flynn, chairman of the Hebburn CAF, revealed he had already been to the town’s Carr-Ellison Park to record a wreath-laying ceremony for commemorations.

He said: “As far as I’m aware there won’t be ceremonies like there have been in the past.

“I imagine there will be other groups which will want to do their own thing, so there will be a turnout of people over time, but unless anything changes there won’t be anything in terms of going to the church, cemetery or park.”

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